January 13, 1893
Clinton Public

Moved His Family West.

John FERGUSON was only a boy when he came from Ohio forty years ago with his parents and settled on a farm in DeWitt township.  John stuck to the plow till Father Abraham called for three hundred thousand more of the brave boys of the North to leave wife and mother, home and friends, to march down into Dixie’s land and put a stop to that unnatural strife which the Southerners began in order to perpetuate slavery and have a government in which Northern mudsills were to have no part.  John enlisted in the One Hundred and Seventh Illinois and faithfully carried a musket for three years, then when the cruel war was over, he threw off his suit of blue and went back to the plow and to raising corn and hogs.  John got married and raised a family and taught them loyalty to the old flag under which he fought.  He was given a small pension, but when President Cleveland came into power some Copperhead neighbor sent a statement to the pension department that John was a physical giant; and as it did not take much of an excuse to cut a man off the pension roll during those four years, John was lopped off.  So was Henry Myers and Prent. Williams, and a half a dozen or more soldiers in this county.

Well, John Ferguson got along without the pension, and as fortune smiled on him and he was nearly paid out on a farm of about three hundred acres that he bought, he concluded not to ask Uncle Sam to renew the pension.  John’s land increased largely in value, and last fall he concluded to sell it and go out to Nebraska and reinvest his money where he could get more than two acres for the price of one he owned in DeWitt.  This week he loaded his cars and, with his family and Frank FISHER, John started for Guide Rock, Nebraska, near which town he bought about a section of finely improved land, with good houses, barns, springs, well-fenced and everything for less money than he sold his farm in DeWitt.  Frank Fisher has lived in this county for a quarter of a century, and he now goes to Nebraska where he hopes to make money in the future when farms get up to where Illinois land is now selling.

Note: John Ferguson (age 17) and his brother Albert (age 10) were listed with the David Bosserman family in the 1860 census.  (Their last name was spelled Furgeson.)  John was listed as a farm laborer, and both were attending school.   John Ferguson married Samantha M. Marsh on October 4, 1866.

January 13, 1893
Clinton Public

Shot a Tough.

Out in Archer, Texas, lives J. S. SCOTT, a native of Wapella township, who went to Texas about fifteen years ago, about the time Eph HARROLD bought the cattle ranch.  Scott married a sister of Eph Harrold.  Scott owns a general store in Archer and has made considerable money.  He stands well in the community as a thorough and honorable business man, and has the respect of every body.  Archer has its toughs, and one of the toughest of them started out to clean up the town on the fourth of this month.  No one wanted to have an altercation with him, as they knew that the fellow would murder them on the slightest provocation.  That afternoon the tough ran a couple of men into Scott’s store, and had it not been for Scott interfering, both of them would very likely have died with their boots on, as the tough carried a regular arsenal of revolvers.  When Scott put the tough out of his store, the fellow swore that he would lay him out on the first opportunity.  Scott knew that this meant either his death or the tough’s, and as he was not yet anxious to leave his family, he prepared himself for defense.  He had a rifle in his store and into this he dropped a couple of slugs and laid it behind the counter ready for use.  The next day the tough, with blood in his eye and a revolver in each of his side pockets, went into Scott’s store to have it out.  Scott kept a close watch on the fellow, and at the very first hostile sign he reached behind the counter, grabbed his rifle, and before the tough knew what was coming, he fired at him.  The slug struck the tough on the neck and plowed around about one-third.  A surgeon was called and he took about twenty stitches in the tough’s neck, and on the theory that the devil takes care of his own the tough is likely to recover.  Scott went before a justice of the peace and surrendered himself, but so grateful were the people to him for his courage in knocking the tough out of time that he was held in a mere nominal sum.  Everybody wanted to go on the bond.  The chances are that Scott will yet have to kill that fellow or be killed himself.

Note: From the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index:
SCOTT, JAMES S.     HARROLD, ANNA J.      12/25/1873     MC LEAN

January 20, 1893
Clinton Public

William ELLIS went from Barnett township to Iowa about ten years ago, taking with him barely enough to keep his family till he could raise a crop.  He bought some land and kept adding to it till he had two hundred and eighty acres, for which he went deeply into debt.  Last fall he sold Howard McKINNEY a quarter section of the land for $6400 cash, and the other one hundred and twenty acres he sold for an equal price.  He has gone to another county and bought four hundred and forty acres, going into debt for part of it.  If he lives five years longer he will have his land all paid for and be perfectly independent.   This is doing pretty well for a man who ten years ago had nothing.

Note: From the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index:
ELLIS, WILLIAM     BRITTEN, IDA      12/28/1876     DE WITT

January 20, 1893
Clinton Public


Some weeks ago THE PUBLIC advocated the levying of a tax on bachelors on the principle that no man has a right to live a selfish life. We have a short list of the bachelors in and around Clinton who were derelict in their duty to society by continuing in their lives of singleness. What incentive is there for a father and mother to raise a family of daughters when so many of them are left on their hands? Boys have some chance to make their way in this world if they are so inclined, but with the limited field of labor opened to girls how are they to get along if too many of them are left single on the market?

This is becoming a serious question in Illinois. There was a time in this great Prairie State when marriageable girls were so scarce that every one could have a half a dozen strings to her bow, and she could take her choice from the best of the young men of the day. But the conditions have changed. It is true that the change has not come because there are not men enough to go around, but on account of the intense selfishness of the marriageable men. Cast your mind’s eye over the list of men who are abundantly able to have a wife and home of their own, who are the spoiled pets of mothers and sisters who encourage in their sons and brothers this selfish spirit.

Within the past few months young men with spirit from other towns and States have come to Clinton and wooed and won some of our brightest young girls, while these withering chumps of bachelors stand amazed and wonder deep down in their hearts what is going to become of them. Occasionally some of our Clinton bachelors pluck up courage enough to ask a girl to marry him, and if he is of the right kind there is not much danger of his being refused.

John FULLER, DeWitt County’s tall and good-looking State attorney, was moved by The Public article to get out of the proposed taxable column. On last Monday night John plighted his hand and fortune to Miss Hattie FIELD, and together they will make the journey of life. John complains that it was hardly fair to include him in the bachelor list, for he had to prepare for life by educating himself for his chosen profession before it would be prudent to assume the more serious duty of paying rent and grocery and—milliner’s bills. Well, that was a sensible view to take of it.

Fred BALL joyfully says that the fellow who may be appointed to collect the bachelor tax will never catch him, as in the near future he expects to be led as a blushing groom to the matrimonial altar by one of Illinois’ fair daughters.

But what excuse has Jake ZORGER, Will. CARLE, George HUGHES, John LEWIS, Mayor MAGILL, Captain GORMAN, or a score more we might mention, why a heavy tax should not be levied upon them to endow a home for old maids—and cats. We are going to include our county superintendent of public schools in the above list, but we have been privately posted by one of our lady teachers that he is progressing finely, and that before the next anniversary of the nation’s birth his name will be stricken from the roll of bachelors and that she will have no more use for cats except as mousers.

The first half of the first month of the new year has whirled into the past, and if our bachelors expect to be up and doing there is no time to waste.  After a fellow gets to be thirty he becomes a sort of a crank if he is single, and an angel would hardly suit his tastes.  But, heavens, when a bachelor arrives at forty—and many of our Clinton fellows are fast nearing the two-score mark—life takes on an extra whirl and every actual year counts two from that time on.  In all seriousness we would ask our bachelors the question, “Where would you have been had your daddy followed your foolish and selfish course?”  Give the girls a chance, and before the “ robins nest again” get out of your bachelor ways and step to the front.


February 24, 1893
Clinton Public

Howard McKINNEY was raised in Barnett township.  He rented a farm near Hallsville and lived there over twenty years — long before he became of age.   He saved his money and when he got enough ahead he went out to Iowa and bought a farm near Early.  With his industrious and frugal habits it will not be many years before he will have the farm paid for, and have the independence that will keep him and his family through life.

February 24, 1893
Clinton Public

Last Saturday the Leg Was Amputated.
The Crippled Veteran Is Doing as Well as Could Be Expected.

On a bright sunny morning away back in 1863, on the 12th of July, after the Union army had succeeded in capturing Vicksburg, General Lauman’s brigade, comprising the Forty-first, the Twenty-eighth and the Fifty-third Illinois Regiments, and the Third Iowa and a battery of the Fifth Ohio Artillery, made an attack on the rebel breastworks at Jackson, Mississippi.  There were not more than thirteen hundred in all of the Union troops to face an army of an estimated strength of fifteen thousand, safely sheltered behind a double line of breastworks.  The cold lead poured into the small brigade of Union soldiers and the lines were fast being decimated.  By common impulse and without even an order the little band of Union soldiers charged on the rebel breastworks.  It was while going forward in that heroic bayonet charge that Orderly Sergeant A. D. McHENRY was stricken down by a rebel bullet, the ball striking him on the left leg, midway between the knee and the ankle, and shattering the bone to splinters.  Many a brave man went down on that bright Sunday morning, and scores of Northern families mourned for their beloved dead and wounded.  Sergeant McHenry remained in the service till January 15, 1864, when he was discharged.   He was one among the first to enlist from this county in the Forty-first Illinois.

For nearly thirty years A. D. McHenry suffered from that wound.  Probably in all that time he has hardly known an hour free from pain and suffering.  The war was ever present with him.  After the battle some of the surgeons were in favor of amputating his leg at once.  Mac resisted, but he would probably have been compelled to yield had it not been for one of the surgeons who recognized in the wounded sergeant a brother Mason.

Last summer the old wound became more painful and troublesome, and Mr. McHenry, acting on the advice of his attending physician, he went to a hospital in Chicago for surgical treatment.  It was the opinion then of some of the hospital surgeons that the leg ought to be amputated but the old soldier pleaded to save it.  The surgeons then cut away all the decayed parts, and after a time Mr. McHenry returned home feeling much better.

But it was only temporary relief.  Daily the leg became weaker and more painful, and finally Mr. McHenry had to walk on crutches.  A week ago last Sunday night the bone broke in two and the foot was severed from the body, being held only by the flesh.

This meant business for the surgeon’s knife.  With the terrors of an amputation staring him in the face the suffering veteran coolly began to arrange his worldly business so that if this was to be the end he would leave his affairs in good shape.  Just imagine a man coolly arranging for what might be a fatal termination.  The fire and nerve that inspired the orderly sergeant on that bright Sunday morning nearly thirty years ago came to his aid in the trying hours between that Sunday night of two weeks ago and the surgeon's knife of last Saturday.

Last Saturday all of the old school physicians in the city and some from the adjoining towns gathered in Mr. McHenry’s home.  Those doctors, used to suffering as they are, felt the great responsibility that rested upon them in the operation that was to be performed.  It was no slight undertaking to perform an amputation on a man who had suffered for years from the wound.  There was a death stillness in the house, and when the preparations had all been complete and the dread moment had arrived the veteran sergeant was placed under the influence of anesthetics and the skillful surgeon’s knife amputated the leg at the knee.

There was a feeling of relief among the doctors when the influence of the anesthetics had passed away and Mr. McHenry had withstood the shock.

The doctors present at the operation were: John Wright, J. C. Myers, J. M. Wilcox, J. A. Edmiston, T. D. Cantrell, A. E. Campbell, Aldora Tyler and Dr. J. H. Tyler, [and] D. W. Edmiston.  Some of the country doctors were present, but we could not learn their names.  The operation was performed by Dr. Wright, his principal assistant being Dr. Myers.

Nearly a week has passed and the veteran sergeant seems to hold his strength.   His attending physician is hopeful and the McHenry family feels that the worst has been passed and that their dear father will be restored to them in health and strength.  The old sergeant is only in his fifty-ninth year.  He ought to live a half century more to make up for his thirty years of suffering.


September 8, 1893
Clinton Public

Lost Her Left Foot.

Poor old Mrs. HOPPER is having a sad ending to her seventy years of life.  Away back in 1871, her husband owned forty acres in Texas township which furnished them a comfortable living, but one day a fellow came along with a hog cholera remedy and sold the right to manufacture it to the old man, taking a lien on the home place to pay for it.  The cholera remedy was a failure and the old man lost his home, and he finished his days as a wood sawyer and in doing odd jobs.  A couple of years ago he laid down and died, leaving his old wife to continue the journey awhile longer.  Poverty is a hard master, especially when it comes after one has lived comfortably and the reverse comes too late in life to recover from it.

The old lady has been making her home with a daughter who lives in the north end of town and did all she was able to keep the wolf from the door.  Last Tuesday morning she was out on the railroad picking up the pieces of coal that fell from the cars, and was standing with her left foot on a rail when an engine, in switching, moved a lot of cars on the track, the hind one of which knocked her down and the wheels passed over her left foot and mangled it so badly that amputation was necessary.  The poor old soul was carried to her home, where Dr. Myers, assisted by Dr. Cantrell, amputated the foot above the ankle.  The old lady realized her dangerous condition and when they laid her on the table for the operation she remarked to the surgeons that she expected the table was to be her “cooling board.”  She rallied well after the operation, though her age was greatly against her.  The doctors gave her the same care and attention as though she could pay the biggest fees, when in fact they will not get a copper for all they do for her.  It is a blessing for the poor old soul that kind hands and sympathetic hearts are ready to minister to her wants and comfort.

September 15, 1893
Clinton Public

The Jury Said Brock Was Not Guilty.

After two trials in the circuit court, and at a cost of nearly $2000 to the taxpayers of this county, Cassius BROCK was acquitted by the jury of the charge of manslaughter, for which he was on trial.  On the first trial the jury could not agree.  On the second trial the jury was out about twenty-six hours.  On the first ballot they stood eight for acquittal and four for conviction, and so continued till Saturday afternoon when the four for conviction surrendered and made it unanimous for acquittal.  It is doubtful if ever any jury could be had in this county that would convict Brock, and under the circumstances it may have been for the best that the case was finally ended.  Alexander HALSEY, the prosecuting witness and the father of the murdered boy, lives in McLean County.  Cassius E. Brock lives just inside the DeWitt County line, and the murder was committed opposite Brock’s farm.  As a matter of fact DeWitt County had no interest in either of the parties yet it had to pay all the costs.

The history of the case began forty years ago instead of the time when the two families were plunged into grief.  It was an old feud between Elias BROCK, the father of Cassius Brock, and the father of Alexander Halsey, and from both families it has been handed down from father to son.

On the 19th of April, 1892, the day of the fatal encounter, Alexander Halsey and two of his sons, Oscar and Luther, were hauling corn from their farm to the railway depot.  Between one and two o'clock on that day the three Halseys were passing Cassius Brock’s farm, Oscar driving the lead wagon, Luther the middle team, and the father bringing up the rear.  Brock was repairing a fence on the roadside, and when Alexander Halsey’s team was passing by, the feud of years broke out with renewed bitterness, when Brock pulled out a revolver and began shooting.  He claimed on the witness stand that Halsey had got out of his wagon and made a deadly assault upon him with a pole, and feeling that his life was in danger he opened fire.  Oscar HALSEY swore that the pole spoken of was in his (the front) wagon, and was part of some machinery, and therefore it could not be true that his father had assaulted Brock with it.  Two of Brock’s shots took effect on Alexander Halsey, one wounding him in the nose and the other in the neck.  Oscar and Luther Halsey jumped out of their wagons and ran back to the defense of their father, when Brock fired another shot which struck poor little Luther HALSEY in the back and killed him instantly.  Brock had a five-shooter and he emptied its contents at the Halsey family, three of the shots taking effect.  After the battle was over, Alexander Halsey lifted his dead fourteen-year-old boy into his wagon and took him home to his mother.  The coroner’s jury decided that Brock had committed murder; the grand jury toned it down to manslaughter.

The case was first tried at the March term, and after a hard fought legal battle the jury failed to agree.  Colonel Pash Warner represented Brock, while R. A. Lemon and State’s Attorney Fuller conducted the prosecution.  The second trial closed last Friday, and on Saturday afternoon the second jury brought in a verdict of acquittal.  Brock can thank his stars for the ability of his attorney to watch all the corners and his power to convince the jury that Brock was not really responsible for Luther Halsey’s death.

Alexander Halsey is unfortunate in having the enmity of his neighbors, for nearly every one of them went upon the witness stand and swore to his vicious character.  Probably the old feud had embittered his life, and as he is surrounded by Brock’s friends it was not hard for them to find an excuse in swearing against him.  Halsey has not a bad face and no one would take him for a bad man.  In point of intelligence he will rank above the average, and as a farmer he has been successful.  The best thing he can do for the peace of mind of himself and family is to leave that locality and go where life will be more congenial and pleasant.

The same may be said of Cassius Brock.  There is nothing unpleasant about his face, and until this unfortunate affair he was never known to do an unkind act.

Alexander Halsey and Cassius Brock are simply the heirs of an old feud that began with their fathers forty years ago.  Halsey will go through life mourning the untimely death of his youngest son, while Cassius Brock will ever have the unpleasant thought that he killed a fellow being.


November 24, 1893
Clinton Public

Moved His Family West.

Jasper HARP was born in DeWitt County, in the township which bears his family name, on the 17th of February, 1836, and for over fifty-seven years he has remained a citizen of the county of his birth.  There is probably less than half a dozen older citizens of the county, although Jasper is not an old man in years.  In all those years Jasper never owned a farm of his own, but remained a renter, and now when he is nearing three score years of life he turns his face westward to begin life again near Hebron, Nebraska, as a renter.  Yet withal Jasper is as happy and as hopeful as though he owned the best section of land in this county.  One time Mr. C. H. Moore offered to sell Jasper eighty acres of land near Weldon for $320.  Mr. Moore did not want the money and told Jasper he could pay for it whenever he was able if he would only keep up the interest, which would be six percent.  Jasper said he was then working by the month at twenty dollars, and he did not think it wise to give up such a good paying job and go to work for himself.  That same eighty acres could not be bought today for $5000.   Jasper is something of a philosopher in his way.  What more could he have had during his life than plenty to eat and clothes to wear, and he has always had these things.  When he gets out to Nebraska he may conclude to buy a small home for himself and his good old wife so that they may spend their last days under their own roof.